Read the following four sentences and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them:
1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can't really be changed.
4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.
If you agree with items 1 and 3, you're someone who has a "fixed mindset". If you agree with items 2 and 4, you tend to have a "growth mindset". If you agree with both 1 and 2 you're confused.
*Excerpt from Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
Do you believe a baby can learn to walk?
Do you believe a baby can learn to talk?
Do you believe you can be rich?
Do you believe that where you are now is where you will be forever?
As we get older, some people start to develop what's called a "Fixed-Mindset".
It's the thought that "we cannot change".
We are "set in our ways".
"This is as good as it's going to get".
"The only way I'll ever be rich is if I win the lottery".
It's what happens in the business world and in our careers. We plan for some course of action and expect to be able to execute it perfectly the first time.
We think our skills and knowledge are fixed. When we are hired for a job, we believe we are expected to do the job perfectly on day one. So we don't apply.
We believe we cannot learn a new language.
We believe that if we lost our job that's the end of us, we cannot do anything different.
We believe what we are now is all we are worth in the world.
We believe we cannot save money.
What changed from when we believed a baby could do something it couldn't do?
A baby practices and fails.... and practices ... and fails again. She say "da da" until she one day says "daddy".
She lays on the floor wiggling around until she can sit up on her own, she sits and flops over until she can stand up on her own. All day long, she's sitting up and falling over. It seems endless and tiring, but she doesn't stop. She's eventually standing but only for a second. Then she's holding your hand and taking a step. Days and days, this goes on for days. And suddenly she's off to the races. You can't stop her now.
How did this tiny baby go from not being able to do anything, to running around?
It didn't happen overnight. She didn't write out a plan for execution. She didn't make a list of pros and cons. She didn't just wake up one day and say I'm going to walk and then do it.
She practised. She tried and failed over and over again.
She doesn't know what failing is. She's probably never heard the word before. She definitely can't say the word. But if she could the only thing she would associate with it would be that failing leads to success.
Failing every day, all day, led to her talking and walking.
Why is it so hard as an adult to do that?
Some of us can. But most of us fail once or twice and give up. The excitement and motivation we had when we first started trying disappears.
We start to make excuses like, "it's not for me", "I can't do this","my brain doesn't work that way", or "I'm too old for this".
Why can a baby practice and practice without stopping?
Well, actually babies do give up. They practice and practice until they are tired. They go to sleep, then wake up and practice all over again. Exhausting your motivation sometimes means you just need to rest and come back tomorrow to try again.
Is what you are right now, at this very moment in time, "all you will ever be"?
Is the lottery the only way you will ever be rich?
I don't believe that.
I know plenty of rich people. I know no one that has won the lottery.
Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.